A few months ago, Kieron Gillen sat down with Paul Barnett, EA Mythic's Creative Director, and has been posting bits and pieces of that interview session ever since; this week, we were treated to one of the best cynical descriptions of GDC ever. Barnett explains why, despite being asked to go, he declined the chance to go to GDC and went to the LIFT futurism festival instead:
I never go to GDC. But I was asked point blank why, as it seemed this year they were quite happy to take me to GDC. Mythic wanted me to go there. And I effectively said "Well, I don't like GDC". Which turned out to be the wrong thing to say. Apparently I've now learned that if you're in the games industry, and someone says "GDC" what you're supposed to do is say lots and lots of lovely things about how wonderful they are.
I went for it from the other point of view - I'm not going to GDC because it's combative, it's a peacock display and it's full of people who do what I do or want to do what I do or are doing what I do and don't want me to do it anymore. It's not open-minded. It's very narrow-minded. We're all talking about the same thing. We've all sharpened our knives for years at it, so we get into... well, not a fight, but it's always about the same things. We talk about design, mechanics, philosophy of design. All I was going to hear about was: WoW and the Activision merger. Whether Spore is going to be any good. How do I get into the games industry? Would you like a job? You're going to be fired. Why don't you start a label? I can get you a lot of money? There's no money available in the market. What we need to do is form an independent development company. What we need to do is unionise. Is microtransactions really the way? What do you think of INSERT WHATEVER IDEA WAS.
The rest of the interview set currently posted is pretty interesting, and it's worth a read through — and not just for the scathing commentary on one of the premier events in the gaming world.
Barnett On: Why I Don't Go To GDC [Rock, Paper, Shotgun]